Saturday 16 November 2019

How to enable USB 3.0 on a Macbook Pro 17" Late 2008

Hi there
I have an old Macbook Pro 17" Late 2008 model. It does things I need just fine but I have added some things to it over time. It has the following top-end specs:
- 2.5ghz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
- 4GB Ram
- 240GB SSD (I installed this by replacing the old hard drive)
- Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT 512MB Graphics (Up from 256MB on the lower models)
- Full HD 1920x1200 Display (The top model at the time)
- OSX El Capitan 10.11.6

I have to repair the power adapter every so often, The magsafe still works but wears out every two years it seems). I also added a USB mimo Wifi adapter after the internal wifi crapped out.  And I rarely use the Macbook without a fan cooler tray underneath it as it runs hot without.

Anyway, this week I set about adding USB 3.0 capability to it. I learned that you can get a USB 3.0 Expresscard for the macbook and slot it into the side, do some software changes and voila. So here is how I did it.

If you look at the image above of the card you will notice that it has BC628 in the lower right. It doesn't seem to be overly important with these cards. The cards are mass produced cheaply, and even though they have the same sticker they can have different chipsets inside. Take a look here:

even thought the two lower left cards look like ours with the BC628 sticker, they have different chips.

The one I received came with a driver CD with uPD720202 on it so I assumed mine had this chip inside.

There are many different guides online explaining how to add these cards and which software to run, some even suggest installing Multibeast to use it to download and install the drivers. I suggest treading carefully as the Multibeast method did not work for me and it borked my OSX completely and I had to remoe the drive and put back my backup drive and start over. Take a look at my Macbook specs at the beginning of this article, the following procedure is what I did to make it all work on my El Capitan Macbook:

1) Turn off your macbook
2) Slot in the Expresscard
3) Turn on your macbook while holding down the alt key until you get the option to boot into recovery
4) click the recovery drive
5) in the menu bar click >

6) in the terminal we are going to disable security.
7) type csrutil disable
8) press enter and you should get a message saying it is disabled
9) type reboot and press enter to reboot the mac into OSX
10) open a terminal and type nvram boot-args="kext-dev-mode=1" and press enter and do your password
11) This bit is the magic to make it work. Remember, I am using El Capitan, it may be different for your version.
12) Download the zip file here>>>>>>>>>Click here
13) unzip it and open it up, the open the folder 'for OSX Yosemite 10.10' it works with El Capitan, the other version does not work.
14) Run USB 3.0 OSX Software 2.3.0.pkg and let it install
15) Next Run Kext Wizard and under the 'maintenance tab' select both repair permissions and rebuild cache in the System/Library/Extension part. Let it do it's think, it takes a few minutes.
16) Power off the Macbook, plug in a usb drive, switch it on.
17) All being well the USB drive is now working. Plug in a USB 3 stick, The USB drive should have it's led on if it is working and you can check via Launchpad > System Information > Pci
It will show 'USB Super-Speed Bus' in the list.

Overall I am happy with the $5 cheap improvement.

Good Luck!

1 comment:

Julian Brown said...

Very interesting. Curious to know more about IoT low power consumption.